Arocha found guilty of manslaughter

Posted at 4:22 PM, May 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-05 15:02:03-04

GREAT FALLS – A jury has found William Arocha, Jr., guilty of voluntary manslaughter for the stabbing death of Shane LaPlant.

The verdict was announced at about 11:15 a.m. on Wednesday. Arocha is scheduled to be sentenced on September 6th.

After the verdict was announced, Arocha was taken into custody.

Arocha had been facing a second-degree murder charge for the July 5th, 2017, stabbing death in East Glacier.

The prosecution rested its case Tuesday after showing a recorded interview between Arocha and special agent Steven Red Cloud of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.

In the video, Arocha told Red Cloud he stabbed LaPlant once and LaPlant turned to leave. Arocha then went after LaPlant and was on top of LaPlant when he stabbed him 25 more times.

Arocha took the stand and said he does not recall a lot of what happened that night. He said his statements have changed over the last ten months because he is scared he would never see his family again.

During closing arguments, the prosecution said that this case does not come down to “heat of passion.”

They say Arocha chased down LaPlant and stabbed him numerous times, showing premeditation.

The defense asked the jury to consider the witness testimony and to find Arocha not guilty.